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Lotus Domino for Linux -- but not NetWare 137

technophile writes "This article indicates that Lotus is dropping support for NetWare in favor of Linux support. They expect to have a Linux Domino server out by end-of-year. " This came from comments from the CEO of Lotus this morning in an interview. They are "bullish" about having a version for Linux out by end of year. Excellent.
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Lotus Domino for Linux -- but not NetWare

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  • Well, there's another NT app that I can run on linux instead. I've never actually run Domino, and that's simply because I'd need an NT server to run it. I've always wanted to start it up and see what it can do, looks like we'll all get a chance pretty soon.
  • Rumor from the IBM bigwigs is that IBM is, after evaluating Linux for the remainder of 1999, will kill AIX (the product), and offer the AIX maint. code. In addition, all webservers (now Domino) will move to Apache (under AIX or Linux). In addition, check out for other stuff. IBM isn't playing around. IBM (and that includes Lotus), internally at least, is out-and-out pedal to the metal with Linux. Now, if only they could make a Mandrake desktop load I'd be happy.
  • My new employer lives on Notes, and it is truly very overrated. The replication trick is very nice, but as a whole the thing is slow, and the UI is very poor and counterintuitive - in mail, "Reply with History" and "Reply to All" only moved to the same *screen* with the latest R5 release.

    The R5 client is a memory hog, it space leaks and more than occasionally takes down my 96Mb Nt machine with death by swap.

    The Domino web UI is also nothing to write home about - the latest mail incarnation is pitiful compared to something like Yahoo. For all practical purposes, it is unusable. Submitting expense reports in Notes is hard enough, I wouldn't dream of trying to do it via Domino web.
    Now they even provide a (buggy) applet so you can compose on the web in all those cutesy fonts. Wake up Lotus - applets are on the way out, and non ASCII mail is a flawed concept in a world with Internet access.

    In spite of this, I wish it was Notes and not Domino they were porting, as it is one of the few things that means my Thinkpad has to run NT most of the day. :( Also, it is Notes that would add to Linux credibility on the desktop - it is already established in the back shop.

    Another thing to remember is that Lotus is no longer the darling of the PHB's - they are all drinking at the fountain of truth in Redmond nowadays, and buying Exchange. Sure, it doesn't do half of what Notes can do, but it's from Redmond and that's all that matters nowadays.
  • I am not certain why this has generated so much. Both items, support for Linux and loss of support for Netware, have been reported previously. The Notes server for Linux was announced, albeit tentatively, at LotusSphere in January. Dropping the Netware Notes NLM was reported in late '98.
  • They won't blame linux, they will tell the user to use the version that they developed it for.

    They will blame the user.

    If I try to use Office 2000 on Win3.1, MS would tell me the same thing.

    I think the various distributions of linux is going to hurt linux's potential as more main stream applications are developed. Linux must become more standardized before it will ever be able to compete in the app server/workstation market.
  • Linux was the first freeware Unix available under the x86 architecture.
    What rubbish! You should learn a little about the history of x86 Unix. 386BSD was available as a working system before Slackware ever emerged.


  • Yes, it should be pointed out that Domino for NetWare was not very well supported or very popular (or very stable). Most NetWare shops run Domino on something else (NT, OS/2, Unix).
  • Somewhat off topic, but Linus is set to give the keynote address at Lotus DevCon in June.

    The Lotus page for the conferecne []
  • Interesting that you mention this, because it just so happens that a similar thing happened to CP/M back in its heyday--developers actually started porting their CP/M applications to MS-DOS / PC-DOS because it was actually easier to port to DOS than it was to CP/M-86... So they started porting to DOS in spite of the installed CP/M user base... And look what happened!! This almost suggests that Linux will be the MS-DOS of the 90's... Isn't it wonderful how history repeats itself sometimes!?!?
  • by jamesw ( 37777 ) on Wednesday June 02, 1999 @06:22AM (#1870098) Homepage
    I've been using Notes at my place of employment for about 6 months now, and I must say it's one of the worst programs I have ever had the misfortune to use.

    That is, when I am able to use it, due to poor setup, I am able to read my proprietarily stored email, on which access depends on the uptime of the server (about 1.5 days), and the phase of the moon. I can't go in using a decent emailer to read some of this email which periodically disappears or goes unread for months. And doing any external interfacing to the Domino server is next to impossible unless all the Domino techies know what they're doing (which is rare).

    I'd much rather use a bunch of smaller apps that do the individual parts better (mailer and database client) than one large program that feigns functionality by attempting to look nice. But I guess that's just the unix coming out in me.

    And it isn't really that nice to use anyway. The menus and toolbar buttons are non-intuitive (yes i realise i'm now talking about the client, but that's what you need to interface to the proprietary server, linux or not)

  • I work in an office completely regimented by Domino and Notes... a more clunky excuse for a groupware framework I have never encountered. Notes spends more time giving people problems than it does solving them.

    The idea was that great lumps of information would be shared by groups through Notes databases and Domino pages. The reality is that it's one more thing for notech lusers and PHB's to ignore and fail to learn. It's just a glorified email system at this point, and far less elegant than simple POP and SMTP. ah well.
  • Not that everything HAS to be free. But I think (and hopefully I'm wrong) that NDS will be a hard sell because the benefits aren't really tangible.

    I think funky LDAP integration will give Linux everything NDS has some day, but it's not there yet and won't be for a while.

  • Lotus is second only to Microsoft as an expression of pure Lovecraftian evil in the software industry. Consider their track record:
    - They effectively handed the PC software market to Microsoft by hamstringing their competitors with bogus "look and feel" lawsuits. Lotus was so hung up on this that they gave each of their own products a gratuitously incompatible interface.
    - They promptly murdered OS/2 immediately following their acquisition of IBM's PC software business (cleverly disguised as an IBM acquisition of Lotus), again handing the industry to Microsoft.
    If Lotus gets a foothold in the Linux market, we will live to regret it.
  • My company has an NT server running it which serves our local office. A null modem cable comes out the back of that machine and attaches to a Netware box running Domino which is connected to our corporate network. An absolutely hideous configuration in so many ways (the null modem cable sure makes for speedy transfers of big emails! NOT!), but we *do* use Netware and Domino, and I imagine *many* others do.

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • IBM happens to make all of their money on mid-to-high range stuff. Think of their PC division as a loss-leader to keep the user base from forgetting about them.

    If IBM is going to push Linux as a midrange solution, I think that's phenominal news, but it's going to have a very small impact on the end user/small business. Having IBM push Linux as a desktop OS is hardly going to make much difference.
  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Wednesday June 02, 1999 @06:10AM (#1870117) Homepage

    I'm glad that more stuff is coming out for Linux, but I used to administer a Netware network and it's sad it struggling. For what it does Netware is fantastic and NDS _IS_ the greatest thing since sliced bread. Linux (and even NT) will have something like NDS some day, but I think it'll be quite a few years.

    Nobody has mentioned that committing to a Linux port is really a no-brainer for Lotus. They've got Unix versions already and Linux will be EASY. What they're really saying is: "Novell has lots of users but the huge development effort required for the port doesn't justify the risk. A Linux port, however, will cost next to nothing and people seem to want it, so we'll go ahead with it."

    This shouldn't be seen as a Novell vs. Linux thing, because Linux doesn't really require any effort. The news here is that Novell is losing vendor support.

  • >The only MS product running is the OS...I am using 3rd party apps for everything else.

    smart person. :)
  • Yes, it was.


  • correct me if I am wrong
  • >So Lotus has finally decided to "jump on the Linux bandwagon" has it?

    For the last time! This is OLD news. Here is the JANUARY Computerworld snippet that says they would be developing the 5.0 server for linux.
    Linus Redux []

    >Lotus strikes me as a company very fond of heading in whatever direction the latest band-wagon might happen to be headed.

    Read above statement. They were talking about it when everyone else did. Does this change your opinion?

    >Recently, they dropped Unix support for all but the Domino server.

    That would be because they are going to browser access. Only a couple of clients are being developed for DB Application Design!!! Seems to me that Lotus *IS* the forward thinking company that you say they are not.

    >you can not win the game by allowing Microsoft to set the rules!

    MS has never set the rules in this area. They have never gained ground on the installed base of notes. MS for once is clawing and scratching and still losing.

    In fact, this information about a linux port was ON /. It is truely sad how easilly this community has taken misinformation and twisted it around against LN/D. I wouldnt blame them if they didn't release it after all.

    You're little linux bandwagon is just a little chevette in an SUV world. Stop compaining.

  • Give me a break. Everytime I've seen someone unhappy with Domino/Notes it was because of 1 or 2 reasons.

    1: The admin was thrown in to running the system with little time to prepare. (No fault to him/her)

    2: The applications are written by a beginner.

    Although easy, LN/D need experienced people to develop and maintain the system..just like everything else.
  • A couple of points really:

    Netware deserves better. For the record so does Notes.

    You can't run it without a good admin, preferably one that's actually USED notes. And with a good developer, you can make it fly.
    (without either, put it back in the box)

    We haven't had a server (running NT) go down (without permission) in over 2 months. That wasn't always the case. We inherited quite a bit of trouble from the previous administration. I feel pretty sure that it was never as bad as 1.5 clicks a week uptime.

    As far as a web server goes, so much is made of the traditional approach. I can't ftp my files, I can't..... The replication architecture, tracking, and workflow (all well implemented) can have a tremendous impact on corporate geography.

    It does have some issues, to be sure. Documentation. Development is a little rigid. (slightly better with R5)

    What kind of software WOULD you make for SUPER.HUMAN's?
  • Sorry - Notes DOES just suck big time. We run AS/400, NT, Linux quite happily in the same environment and they all work beautifully except for the Notes bit crashing our whole company at least once a week. The email side of it is so poor I removed Notes from my laptop altogether and have a separate email address on a 486 running Linux (along with most of the other pissed off techies) which I can access through POP/IMAP.

    The rest of it follows the Microsoft ethic - build it like a whale and people won't be able to tell what's wrong - slow, cumbersome and impossible to work with at a sensible level.

    Some of our staff have gone BACK to green screen 5250 terminals because they can at least work more effectively this way.
  • I have to say that Notes is one of the only pieces of software I have ever used that I have an open hostility towards.

    Notes use at a company is a sure sign of a lame, lost in the 80's "we need an enterprise platform!" IS management style. Notes is favored by people to whom "4GL" is still a hip catchphrase.
  • For some reason, Slashdot did not nest my comment beneath this one before--so I'm trying again...

    It is interesting that you mention this, because it just so happens that a similar thing happened to CP/M back in its heyday--developers actually started porting their CP/M applications to MS-DOS / PC-DOS because it was actually easier to port to DOS than it was to CP/M-86... So they started porting to DOS in spite of the installed CP/M user base... And look what happened!! This almost suggests that if we continue on this path, Linux will become the MS-DOS of the 90's... Isn't it wonderful how history repeats itself sometimes!?!?
  • 20 days uptime.. i dream of that on the boxes we've got, my pointy headed bosses got seduced by the evil ibm salesmen and bought 2 netfinity boxes, 4 gig of ecc ram in each and 60 gig raid, all for about 1000 users not doing much more than email and a few mail in databases
  • We had Domino installed as the basis of our Intranet when I worked for regional Australian bank. I quit because of the fact that it was installed...6 months down the track the executives aren't happy with it (it's slow, etc.) and it's being pulled out, quite a costly stuff up, indeed.
  • >Linux *IS* compatible with Solaris

    Then why doesnt Domino run on linux? It runs on Solaris.

  • Domino isn't open standard or open source, and I'd guess that it will initially be released for one version of one linux distribution. Businesses will try to use it with other distributions and versions, it'll crash a lot. They'll complain to Lotus. Lotus will blame linux.

    Also, much as I like Linux (I do Linux support where I work), Netware is a good, stable product for its environment. The sort of company who's willing to buy a proprietary groupware bundle is the sort of company who'd probably have better luck with Netware.
  • What about LDAP?
  • You've been talking to the wrong people. AIX will _not_ be killed, especially by Linux, for several reasons. The most important reason is the fact that AIX users aren't going to give up AIX (and all their AIX apps) that easily, especially some OS that's been newly-ported to the POWER2 platform and that has not had the proven track record of AIX. (Now, you AIX-haters out there, remember, people that bought AIX bought a *nix system from IBM, creator of EBCDIC. 'nuf said.)

    Your information on Apache on IBM platforms is only partially correct. Apache is slated to become the core server in IBM's WebSphere Application Server and probably Domino Go Webserver. Domino Go (which is NOT Domino) is scheduled to replace the lame (and apparently NCSA-derived) web server on the AS/400 and other IBM platforms. There apparently isn't much code that is actually shared between Go and Domino now, and Lotus isn't about to recode Domino around an Apache core anytime soon, especially after all the delays in shipping R5 in the first place. (Keep in mind the AS/400 version of Domino just shipped a month or so ago, and the Mac version of Notes _still_ hasn't shipped.)
  • 1: Paranoid

    2: No one argues that the DB capabilities are not very strong (flat file). Rather that THEY HAVE ANY AT ALL! Show me a system where you can reprogram you're whole email system from scratch and maintain external DB connectivity.

    3: My servers dont go down...and if they did go down that often, it wouldnt sell.

    4: Running out of disk space has nothing to do with notes. That can happen on any platform. OR get more disk space. Are you an end user?

    5: and you have full progmatic access to all the data. It can be easilly moved to whereever you want it. If it is done right, you never need to move it. Plus if you knew anything about the field level replication and the data store, you'd realize that there is not a standardized format that works with such an advanced feature.

    Read a book already
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Notes is *NOT* just a POP/IMAP server. If it was,
    it would be a waste of time. Real companies that take real advantage of Notes use it for document management, tracking systems, approval processes, workflow, etc.

    Notes also has the best security architecture of mail/web system, built in support for public key, and a very nice distributed key infrastructure and address book.

    To do this with POP/IMAP would require a super-hacky combination of a Mail Reader that launches a Web browser to view an HTML email which is linked to a CGI, which can then manipulate you mailbox to route documents and evaluate server side agents.

    Besides, the default IMAP implementation on Linux is a *PATHETIC* joke. On a machine with 64mb of RAM and a P300, it chokes when any of my mail folders get more than 500 messages in it. The Unix mbox format is not-scalable and not-safe (can be corrupted, and without being detected)

    Oh, and about Netfinity boxes, because some luser mentioned them. What's wrong with them? If your company is supporting 1000 users, having redundancy is good. You don't want the machine to go down. So having redundant CPUs, hot-swap RAID, load balanced power supplies, and ECC ram is a good thing. Even for a mail server.

    Why even take the chance? Yeah, you could say "well, this cheapo Linux box has a MTBF of 1 year, and if it crashes, I can have a new one up and running in 1 hour."

    1 hour of downtime is not good for a company of 1000 users.

  • >If their stuff doesn't work, then they will try
    >other stuff to sell i.e NT boxes and now Linux.
    >You might as well be the one selling other
    >products your client wants if they don't want
    >your stuff. Right?
    Wrong. As far as OS/2 is concerned, it outperforms and is more reliable then NT but customers don't seem to want that. They want NT because everybody else is supposed to have it. According to the press just after Windows 95 shipped. When customers insist on an inferior product it is a smart company that ramps up its services for that product. They, IBM are making $$ hand over fist fixing Windows NT problems over and over again. Just look around, Windows is always breaking and at ~$200/hour those who are willing to take pay for a living hell are making some big $$. That is my take on what is going on with IBM pushing NT. To bad businesses are so dumb about selecting it but a working OS/2 or Linux machine gets no attention while Windows has MS fed press and every 10th word out of most employees mouth is Micros~1 when computers are discussed. Go figure.
  • But the moment is against you, as Lotus is not doing Unix-based Notes clients for R5.
  • NDS is marketed as an add-on for NT, so in a sense NT already has NDS.

    Once Netware legacy installs move on, Novell will port NDS to linux...if they aren't planning to already.
  • Just close your eyes and imagine as many really suckful software aspects you can like an inconsitent interface, poor help system, non-intuitive commands and menus. Now wrap them around a Lotus-(i.e. poor)-quality system and you've just demo'ed Domino (and Notes at the same time)...
  • I wonder where this puts Project Monterey, IBM's joint development effort with SCO for a unified un*x to run on IA64 platforms?

    See this Slashdot link [] for more info.

    Linux is great but it still lacks the unified management environmnet that SMIT offers to AIX. If IBM will release a SMIT for Linux (shouldn't be TOO hard, it's mostly scripts anyway) then we'll know that IBM is serious and not just looking to latch on to penguin popularity.

  • Finally someone with some sense. Busting on Notes / Domino as a clunky POS misses the point. It's a great tool when used right.

    If you want to serve up vanilla web pages, yeah, it can do that. If you want to give users access to basic email, yeah, it can do that. But what's the point?

    Notes allows my company (less than 20 people) to do things that would be totally out of our reach with other apps and frameworks (semi-cross platform, too).

    They committed to Linux last year. Good to see the commitment is still there.
  • Tell em to send the licenses over my way... my customers seem to love it. I guess it all comes down to implementation.

    It is amazing, however, how many people I have seen running the server on a workstation win95 machine with very little memory.

    Seems people think its just another application. Oh well, there is still nothing out there that even comes close to the power of LN/D.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday June 02, 1999 @07:06AM (#1870153) Homepage Journal
    I've had both experiences with Notes -- where it was wonderful and where it was a dog. The main thing is that you have to have a good application for Notes. If you just want e-mail and bulletin board, you're better off with IMAP and NNTP (both of which Notes interoperates with).

    Good Notes applications:

    • Many uses for many users.
    • Need to organize docs several different ways.
    • Need to replicate offline copies.
    • Need to route documents.
    • Need simple, transparent encryption and authentication
    • Need versioning.
    • Maintain chain of custody for documents.
    • Need flexible, role based ACLS down to field level (e.g. can see/edit some parts of a doc but not others)

    Poor Notes applications:

    • Few users.
    • Use for one database.
    • Simple threading is good enough.
    • Simple authentication good enough.

    Also, Notes is a lot like Linux, in that you need a good admin and developer to make it work. I view Notes as a powerful groupware toolset, not a "groupware framework". The stuff they've tacked onto the product to make it more of a canned groupware system is godawful bad (Domino Action comes to mind). E-mail and NetNews are much more viable as a "one size fits all" solution; however if you are willing to develop your own groupware application, Notes is the way to go.

  • Worth noting, folks, that it's just the server they're porting, and not the client.

    Which is a shame, for those of us forced to read our mail in a Win32 app part-supported by Wine.

  • It's one thing to sell products based on linux, it's another all together to run your business on it. Generally it makes more sense to go to NT from OS/2 _right now_ since there's an easier transition between the two. Also you can probably run all the same server/client apps from os/2 on NT, and for user desktops, you'ld require less training. In the long term however, I'm confident that Linux will fill these app holes as both a client and a server. Also starting a new computing environment, you could easily go with linux today. It's just when you're dealing with legacy PC apps that you'll probably have NT be the stronger canidate.
    Of course you're gonna lose out on stability and scalability with NT, but frankly, you still can't run alot of wintel type apps on linux _today_. Next year... well that's another story.
  • Sorry, this is my 100th post on the subject, but...

    >You'd never be able to get anything as good looking as /. out of Domino

    You must not know much about Domino because this is EXACLTY what it is good at, with a lot less programming too. This could be done with simple @ commands much like a simple spreadsheet. Plus you wouldn't have to mess with a backend SQL system either.

    >your company will never be truly successful when you are following the hype instead of leading it.

    Interesting thought...since it seems anyone interested in true groupware is trying to catch up with all the features available in LN/D.

    >Your customer base has been begging for a linux port for YEARS

    Take a class in business. Until recently, developing a port to linux wasn't worth the $$$ they would get from the 4 people who would actually buy it for linux.

    Secondly, The origional post is old news anyway. The Linux port has been approved well before any of these box builders out there even though of selling PCs with linux preinstalled.

  • I am as enthusiastic about notes as most /.'ers are about linux. If there is one thing I (and a few others have stated during this discussion) have found, it is that you need to know notes really well to run a good system. This isn't a toy that you can play with for a week.

    As for a lot of postings. It was well deserved. I haven't seen such blatent spreading of misinformation in a long time.

    As a systems integrator, many problems are not caused by software but are easy to blame the software. I do it with MS all the time.

    There aren't many problems if you can successfully scale a mountain of servers to support 100,000+ users.

    As for being late to the discussion...i work! I can't spend all day hitting /. 100 times waiting to complain about something else. Notice that I started at 12am CST. Thats when I got off work, and I got up at 6am to do it all over again.

    And be prepared. I will be back when the next Notes discussion comes around. Just try to get
  • As much as I dislike Domino/Notes, calling it a "glorified email system" is not entirely accurate.

    I've worked at businesses that have used it for integrating helpdesk knowledge bases (all in Notes databases), change management, and infrastructure documentation on a site supporting over 10k users. It was even used to interface with S/390 VM applications.

    And it worked pretty well.

  • >Would there still be 30 Million people using it?

    Ummm...this same argument has been applied to MS Windows as well.

    Enuf said.

  • I totally agree that some applications MUST be run on some operating systems. The ones only on Windows are there not because of the OS's capabilities but because of market perception. I work for one company that is moving to NT not because of its technical abilities but because of perception. This company sells PC preconfigured with the OS and the apps the customers are to run. Simulators and associated tools. I have a friend that started his own business doing portable spectrum analysers and he is using Windows 9x. In 1991 I told them to dump Dos/Windows for OS/2 because of the flat memory and the multitasking. They didn't and haven't because Windows has marketshare. Both of these companies products are essentially embedded systems but Windows is the target for non technical reasons and in both cases Windows has to be worked around to get the job done. Go figure.

    I guess all we can do is take advantage of situations where Windows can be removed from the equasion. As I see it, we have to make some moves even if there is alittle pain involved or else little by little, no choice will exist. Micros~1 does a wonderful job paying companies to product Windows versions of things, holding one or two companies up to the public and saying, "Look what the world is doing", then walking away with the prize. Examples are some European Banks, Dell had MS replace WebObjects with NT/IIS, SoftImage, some company MS and SoftBank started to support game developers to port to Windows 95-only games.
    Many of us can say that no OS fits all tasks but that isn't what Micros~1 is selling and the choices are getting fewer and fewer. Another friend who does hardware engineering consulting had set up a small NT system and was talking to me about replacing it with Linux. This was 6 months ago but now they have thrown Exchange and IIS onto it and are using all Microsoft protocols. Linux or any other software/OS is unlikely now. Go figure....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 1999 @07:40AM (#1870164)
    So Lotus has finally decided to "jump on the Linux bandwagon" has it? My
    take? Shrug. Who cares?

    What vendors like to have is customer/brand loyalty. Repeat business is
    *good* business. (And relatively easy business, too. Providing you
    *take* *care* of your customers!)

    Shouldn't you look for the compliment in a vendor? If you believe so, I
    would argue that Lotus is *not* a company on which you want to hang your
    future. Lotus strikes me as a company very fond of heading in whatever
    direction the latest band-wagon might happen to be headed. And they'll
    apparently cavalierly ignore the needs of existing customer base in the

    Why do I say this? A few years ago they dropped Unix support for all but
    Notes. Recently, they dropped Unix support for all but the Domino server.
    *Now* they're supporting Linux? And dropping NetWare?

    Is this *really* a company you want to bet *your* company on?

    Go for it. But when (notice I said *when*, not *if*, for IMO it's only
    a matter of time) Lotus burns you, remember: I told you so!

    (The really remarkable thing in all this is the complete cluelessness
    displayed by Lotus. One would think that the recently clueful IBM
    would've dropped the hammer on Lotus' management by now. As is obvious to
    most: you can not win the game by allowing Microsoft to set the rules!
    Nobody ever wins those games but Microsoft. Has Lotus figured this out
    yet? All indications are, as a Dilbert character once noted, that the
    "clue meter is reading zero.")
  • Jeff Papows made the announcement at Lotusphere in January... I started following slashdot closely after this, and had assumed it was widely known.

    I happen to work in an organization that is extraordinarily involved with Domino, and I've been using it since '94. I'm also a UNIX junkie and linux enthusiast. Which gives me a rare perspective. Used properly, Notes / Domino an amazing and wonderful thing. The replication technology is deep magic... it just works. Used improperly (ie, only for e-mail) it's a big, sucking monolithic beast that is much more trouble than it's worth.

    Many may not realize this, but there are many close parallels between the way Notes adoption grew and the way Linux is invading the enterprise today. It started out in most companies as a "grass roots" effort... a small department would start using it and hack together some quick applications, which soon other people would want access to, which increased the number of users, which increased the number of applications being created, and so on. Sooner or later, people realized that their business depended on the damn thing, and it became a "standard".

    Notes is best viewed as an environment for developing and operating small applications for managing and sharing unstructured information, and the most successful users (companies) are those who figure out how to effectively manage the chaos associated with the fact that every user has a full Notes development environment on their desktop. (The latter part is finally changing substantively with the release of R5, which is sad). You end up with an "application ecosystem" of constantly-evolving applications in which only the most useful are successful and end up sticking around. This is a nightmare scenario for your typical top-down control-freak IT department, but it can lead to tremendous innovation.

    Unfortunately, Lotus (IMO) has constantly screwed up the marketing of what really is some great (if closed) technology. I don't expect that to change with this release. I was there when Papows announced the Linux port, and there was *no* vision to accompany it. In fact, about all he said was that his CFO thought they were crazy to do it. I got the impression that this was a reactionary "me too" announcement with little real management understanding of it's implications.

    Reminds me a lot of NextStep... killer tech, bad business. Sigh.
  • If it were really that bad (seemingly worse than Micro~1 for what it sounds like), Would there still be 30 Million people using it?

    Using Notes for just email is blasphemy. And of course it's not going to be as fast a text mode pine for email.

    What I dont understand is all the criticism that /.'ers give non-linux apps about how buggy and slow and problematic they are, why do any of you even try to use linux?

    As I have stated before...If you want to see Notes done right, go talk to Chrysler.
  • The only reason that Windows (and now mac) have an actual client is for developing the applications for a web based system. Thats where the future is (unfortunatly) and thats how it's going to be. I dont think you'd have any luck getting them to release another client. R5 was made to eliminate the client.

  • As some people pointed out, this was not, "to add Linux, we need to drop something, let's drop NetWare." When the R5 project started, Lotus decided to drop the following Notes/Domino platforms:

    Domino -- NetWare, OS/2
    Notes -- all *nix-based versions

    Linux was *not* considered at this point. It was decided that OS/2 and NetWare's future were questionable (this was before NetWare 5 became such a huge success, and before NDS 8 was announced), and so few people were using the *nix clients it didn't seem important to continue them. Even a Mac version of Notes was apparently not considered until late in development.

    The Domino port to Linux most certainly comes from Lotus's experience porting Domino 4.6 to OS/400. In order to accomplish this, Lotus attempted to compile the Domino for Solaris source code on an AS/400. The error percentage was small and apparently fixed easily. Lotus's previous experience with porting Domino, combined with others' successful ports of software to Linux from other *nixes, and IBM's newfound support of a Microsoft fighter..err, Linux, made Domino for Linux a logical progression, Jeff Papows and his fake Marine career notwithstanding.
  • > Of course you're gonna lose out on stability and
    > scalability with NT, but frankly, you still
    > can't run alot of wintel type apps on linux
    > _today_.

    Not true - just use VMware ( and you can run Windows NT or Windows 98 (or even Win3.1) inside a virtual machine running on Linux. I do this all the time for a Windows-only email package, and it works fine - not suitable for games players, but great for running Wintel business/office apps on Linux.

    The supported version is about $300 but I have the unsupported version at $99. Not cheap unfortunately but it does work very well, and it may be cheaper than junking Windows apps before they are obsolete.

  • In the battle for big ecommerce web servers, the OS and the web server don't get too much consideration. It's the development and runtime environment that retains folks. Domino is fairly insignificant as a web server, but as a platform for Notes and for ecommerce apps, it's huge. Similarly, Allaire's ColdFusion (also beng ported to Linux!) is unimportant as a web server, but has a lot of mindshare as a dev environment.

    If we can get all the major environment players to ship their software for Linux and an appropriate OSS web server, ecommerce issues will suddenly snap to hardware performance and OS reliability - and we all know where Linux stands on those issues.

  • Ok, M$ Orifice is hardly a notably stable/perfect office suite... but SmartSuite? SmartSuite is the most bitey, klunky, non-intuitive heap'o'crap I have ever had the displeasure to encounter.
  • Heh, I bet if adobe ported to linux, it wouldn't be called "Jumping on the bandwagon"

    This makes me sick
  • Make cents. The market seem hungry for Linux so they aren't fighting the press, it's free, it is small and fast and OSS gives it tons of capability out of the box. It even runs on many types of hardware. Couple that with Java and IBM has a software base that can possible run through a very large range of tasks as opposed to having Winodws, OS/2, AIX, and AS/400(OS?) and diffent software for each. IBM has pretty good software engineers and service is now its middle name. Funny how Micros~1 doesn't really fit in this picture. Coincidence?

  • Domino isn't really an "NT app", since it started on OS/2 and has run on Unix for years.

    (Evaluation downloads are at
  • There's a script (can't remember the name) that enables your mail database for POP and IMAP access. You need never use the Notes client again.
  • Just before Christmas I made a bet with a colleague that SAP would port their R3 system to Linux within a year. The bet was made in the heat of the moment and I worried a tiny bit about appearing foolish if I turned out to be wrong, but as we all know SAP made the announcement only three months later.

    Shortly after that I was discussing the same thing with someone on the net. I was explaining how this type of bet - if it comes off - is the easiest and most effective way to silence people sceptical about open source when you are trying to get Linux deployed in your organization.

    When pressed for another example prediction - to see if I could do it again - I chose Lotus Notes, again to happen by the end of this year, principally because Lotus had unequivocally said they had no interest in doing so. I must admit I did worry a bit more about that one. But here we are less than three months on from that point and Lotus have made the announcement.

    Are there any bastions left yet to fall? I'm really stumped. I can't think of any other major ISV's or software products that ought to and haven't, short of Micros~1 themselves - and there are already rumours about that...
    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • It IS worth noting that the server will be the only thing that is ported, just as it is also worth noting that e-mail can be configured to be downloadable by any POP mail client, such as Netscape mail, Eudora, or what have you. This is how I get my mail now, and it beats Notes Client by a long shot (IMHO).


  • I agree. The problem with my workplace is that the n/d system was implemented, and they simply left it alone. There were almost no training sessions. Nobody knows (except the IT people and me, the sole tech-literate designer) how to even pull files from the Notes server. It's a tragedy.

  • "Ok, M$ Orifice is hardly a notably stable/perfect office suite... but SmartSuite? SmartSuite is the most bitey, klunky, non-intuitive heap'o'crap I have ever had the
    displeasure to encounter. "

    You don't like WordPro (AmiPro?)

    You don't like LOTUS 1-2-3???

    Approach not good for you?

    Admittedly the 2-D CAD interface from the original Freelance was wonderful and the new versions of Freelance are not that...

    I'd LOVE to have Organizer and 1-2-3 on my desktop.
  • You're running what OS and can't get more
    then 20 days of uptime? Since you're talking
    Notes/Domino here...NT or OS/2?
  • Good question, which I don't have an answer for. I have used the Smartsuite applications for years, because they offered superior value compared to M$. Given IBM's current interest in Linux, I would find it hard to believe that a SmartSuite port isn't in the works. After all, they've already done a successful port - to OS2 Warp / Merlin.

    You can bet that Lotus is not ignoring Linux either, as shown from this tidbit on Lotus' Developers site

    • Lotus DevCon99 June 21-23, San Francisco...Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system, will deliver a keynote address. And when you get there, be sure to visit the Application Development/Enterprise Integration Lab....
    BTW, the reason that SmartSuite users want it for Linux is that it contains a full set of tools (database, spreadsheet, word processor, presentation graphics, Personal info MGR, etc.) which is strong enough to allow us to dump M$ from our systems permanently.
  • >That is, when I am able to use it, due to poor setup

    Well to start, this statement alone should discount all further statements against LN/D. Notes setup is very important.

    >I am able to read my proprietarily stored email

    Everything in notes is stored the same way. Even the server configuration files. I personally dont see a need to have to be able to read already downloaded email in multiple programs. Maybe if the server is down, but you dont need a server to read your mail if you keep a local copy of the database. Replication is LN/D most powerful feature.

    >on which access depends on the uptime of the server (about 1.5 days)

    I'll chalk this one up to the poor setup you talked about. My beta 1 test server never crashed that quickly.

    >I can't go in using a decent emailer to read some of this email

    Depending on the version, you can use any email program you like. Notes as far back as 4.5 i believe is MAPI compliant.

    >I'd much rather use a bunch of smaller apps that do the individual parts better

    So you like Micros~1. Bucket of bolts flying in close formation.

  • Correction -- Domino for OS/2 lives on.
  • It's a shame, though, that they had to drop support for one OS to add Linux. But it is good for Linux; and I've thought less of Novell since they dropped their Mac client.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    While I'm really happy to see more support for Linux from the general software community, it distresses me to see Domino being ported over to Linux. I recently had the misfortune of having to develop a website using Domino. Let me tell you, it was the most inane, bloated piece of micromanaging crap I've yet seen. Maybe the 5.0 version (which I'm assuming is the one being ported) is better, but the 4.5 version ate into my productivity like nothing I've ever seen. Poor CGI support, poor java support, poor interfacing, I couldn't FTP my webpages into and out of the server, it all had to be done one by one (images too!) in the Lotus Notes enviroment. No extended find and replace. I could go on and on about missing features and poorly implimented ones.
    If you actually want to create pages outside of the Lotus Notes enviroment (as I did because the development tools sucked), then you are just setting yourself up for pain, suffering, and heartbreak. Granted, most of my experience was with client application and not the server, but I never saw any reason to use Domino unless you just happen to have a few thousand Lotus Notes documents laying around that need to be posted to the web, or if you have someone that wants to get into web development but only knows how to use Lotus Notes.

    In short, I tried for three months to learn to use and love the Domino server, and finally hightailed it out of there for a better job. They kept telling me that top Domino administrator / developers make $100k+/year, but there's a reason for it. First, it fights you if you try to do anything that's not the "Lotus Way", and second, there's not that many people who want to fool with it. You'd have to pay me 100k just to think about going back to work on a Domino system.
  • ACK! All you have to do is place the HTML files in the configured directory...

    You dont have to put your pages IN notes.

    As for the use of notes. 3 months is nothing when it comes to learning a new system. BUT...

    The above web site, although a bit ugly (I am not a graphic artist) was done completely in notes with SSL and a fully functional shopping cart system. this was with NO knowledge of HTML, CGI, PERL, JAVA, JAVASCRIPT, ETC.

    And it only took me 6 months to learn how to do that. And I wrote it all that way I wanted it be. No prepackaged crap that is out there.

    On the other note, the other web site [] that also runs on this server was created with frontpage and ftp'd into the directory and it works fine.

    >and second, there's not that many people who want to fool with it.

    Ya you are right...30 million people is not many at all.
  • He said it comes down for maintenence.

    I am currently on my first boot after installing R5 on NT, which was over a month ago. Previously, I was running 4.6x and it never crashed. Only took it down ever month or so for updates.

    Come to think of it. My server has only crashed 1 time and that was my fault.

    The only MS product running is the OS...I am using 3rd party apps for everything else.
  • I have to agree with those concerned that Notes on Linux is a mixed blessing. We have Notes on Solaris at work, and it blows pretty badly. The Solaris part is rock solid, but Notes blows up almost weekly. I'd hate to see people evaluate Notes on a Linux server, be disappointed, and then conclude Linux is a crummy app server.
  • ROFL...You've never played with NDS have you?

    Sooo many companies want NDS implemented in to their systems and products.

    Go visit Provo, UT at novell's HQ and you wont believe what NDS can do. Austrailia's Telecom/Postal system also uses it. It's just amazing...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Already announced it: 053.html

    NICE, France (BrainShare Europe '99) -- May 18, 1999 -- Novell®, Inc. today announced Novell Directory Services® (NDS[tm]) for Linux, the next milestone in its strategy to extend its next-generation, scalable Internet directory service, NDS 8, across the major computing platforms of the enterprise and the World Wide Web.

  • Domino servers do not go down when the disk gets full. At least not when your swap is on another partition.

    (Linux apparently does lock when the disk fills. At least it did for me with RedHat 5.1.)

    Note that in some senses the database capacities are worse than DBase III. Notes is *not* a relational database at all. It's a "unstructured document store", which means it's nothting more than a collection of arbitrarily structured data which you can access through pre-defined queries (views). If your query isn't pre-defined, the full text search is damn excellent.

    The document-oriented data store aspects are really the only reason to use Domino instead of a bunch of perl scripts or CGI or ASP. Any of those technologies can probably handle the display aspect much better than the proprietry scripting languages that Notes has. The big "But" is that you necessarily have to build a relational database and jump through a bunch of hoops to get your data out on the page. On Domino, your structured data is the page so this is somewhat easier. On the other hand, if you are querying structured data, Domino is a bit kludgy

    The mail features (when you aren't building mail-based workflow apps) are really not top-of-the-line and should be considered as more of a free add-on. Many shops use Domino/Notes with another mail system. (Although, Notes is the most widely deployed corporate mail system, excluding ccMail which is no longer in development.)
  • Just because you support something, doesn't mean that you have to use it. What surprises me more is that IBM is releasing a new version of Warp Server and they are switching to NT.
  • Rumors of the demise of the NLM based Notes server were rampant in '97. It was the hope (and may still be) that Dr. Schmidt's relationship with Notes Co. would foster a new realtionship based on a Java Deployment.

    So much for hope...
  • >...many of the posts indicated substantial experience with Notes...

    I think a couple of my posts have run together and after a record setting 15 (now 17) I may not have been to clear on the subject.

    The question about experience with notes comes from a few responses that said they used it for 3 weeks or a couple of months. This is by no means enough time to learn the ins and outs of notes administration especially on a large scale. 3 months is definatly not enough time to conquer the programming aspect.

    Notes is different, and it is not easy to understand some of the features in the product because there has never been a product like it before. Educating our customers has been the hardest part. All the documentation and explanations cause their eyes to glaze over. They actually need to see the product in use to understand it.

    *My* experience in implementing notes has been nothing but positive. I have not run across 1 unhappy notes installation that my company has set up. The few we ran across that were unhappy we plain and simply set up incorrectly, or they were just using it for email (bloated). When you can walk in, start the web service and create a discussion area on the web in less than 5 minutes, eyes open widely.

    The spreading of misinformation was because this was old news and people were spouting out at notes *because* they are jumping on the bandwagon...thats it.

    >One problem is, though, that Lotus positions its
    >product as being "zero-effort, go home at 6pm,
    >turnkey, all problems solved if only you sign the
    >purchase order"; reality is much different as you >yourself attest, isn't it.

    I think that is a little exagerrated, but that is correct. If you have an experienced admin and programmers, then it is not true. It took me 1 hour to set up R5 and convert my apps from 4.6. It has been running since with no problems.

    >Yes, yes, yes. You CLP. We hacker. You important. We stupid.

    I am not a CLP, just an enthusiast much like yourself. But one thing I have noticed (not you) is that there is a lot of bias in favor of linux and oss.

    Anyway...nice talking to ya... :)
  • I work primarily off of information stored in Lotus Notes, and really, I'd have to say that if it sucks for you, its due to the people running it. Our notes servers run fine, without a problem, and I have no problems getting all the information I need. When implemented correctly, and used effectively, it can greatly improve productivity. Obviously if you can't get server admins that can keep more than a day of uptime, anything you're running that they are in charge of is going to suck. Even NT can have decent uptimes sometimes (I can't believe I just said that!!), and as sick as it sounds, weekly reboots can solve a lot of your problems.

    Personally I'd rather just run the notes server on Linux and never reboot it... but is there a Notes server port to Linux??

    Anyways... I don't like NT, in fact I only use it at work, but it isn't as bad as people say if you get somebody who has half a clue, and don't mind spending some time servicing it. Of course, if you go with a more stable OS (Linux, *BSD, etc), you have a lot less maintenence, but it is hard to find people who are proficient in them compared to finding a person to do NT administration, and its much harder to convince management to switch from NT to Linux than it is to convince them to hire somebody who can administer NT effectively.

    Okay, now I need to go irradiate myself and burn my clothes... I feel dirty, having defended M$.
  • Maybe someone could organize a petition for a client port. I work in a shop that uses (or at least tries to use) notes and domino. I kind of feel silly having a bit expensive NT box sitting in the corner doing nothing but running the mail client while I do my real work on little PC running Linux.

    Oh well.
  • So, you are in fact running Lotus Domino in "Glorified Email Server" mode?

    That's a shame, since Notes can truly be understood and appreciated only when used to its fullest, as a generic database container and presentation system, which just happened to be used first to develop an Email application.

    I too yearn for the day when I can blow away, forever, my unreliable Whendoze partition.
  • This is slightly off topic, but why is it that IBM says they are really behind linux, but I keep hearing about IBM switching to windows NT boxes internally? (no hope for OS/2 internally?)

    A little more on topic, I'm glad that Lotus is finally getting things ported? Believe it or not, I want to see a port of Lotus Approach.

    Or perhaps someone can suggest a free equivalent?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If IBM has killed Approach for Windows (was it available on any other platform?) perhaps they could be persuaded to release the source code to it so that if someone were so inclined, he/she could port it to Linux. Actually, it would be nice if most/all businesses took that route: if a product is being dumped, release the source for it as GPL, with disclaimers about no support as needed.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.